Sunday, April 08, 2007

Debian "Etch" 4.0 Linux Finally Out!

I have anxiously been awaiting the official release of Debian GNU/Linux 4.0 (codename "Etch") for quite some time. This latest revision to the completely free software operating system brings with it a host of improvements to the installation process, security, encryption, and more.

One feature whose time has definitely come - in fact whose time has been here for quite a while - is the graphical installer. Nearly everyone expects an operating system to include a graphical installer, and finally Debian Linux 4.0 has this built in. This should surely make moving to Linux an easier endeavor for both newbies, and even other more experienced users like me that simply prefer and expect this.

Debian includes the KDE, GNOME and Xfce desktop environments - of which I definitely prefer KDE simply because I find it most like MS Windows, and thus when I switch between the two environments, I don't have to think about things as much. (note: you have to download the OS image that contains KDE, since the default version has GNOME instead).

Here is a link to the full Debian 4.0 Etch Release Announcement. There are quite a few things, like out-of-the-box support for encrypted partitions, secure APT (package management tool), and more to get excited about. And, if you are wondering if Debian Linux will run on your computer, chances are it will, as it supports nearly every major architecture (meaning, if you have a PC, Mac, Sun, or perhaps something else, it'll probably run on it).

I typically don't install Debian directly, as I wait for the derivative operating systems like Ubuntu / Kubuntu (which are based on Debian) to upgrade to using the underlying version 4.0 Debian Linux code base. But, fact is, I have installed the prior 3.1 series (Sarge) of Debian and found it quite useful even without the add-ons that other "brands" of Debian-based Linux have included. The choice is yours. I'd expect within a few months most major Debian derivatives will be fully migrated to Etch.

Finally, keep in mind that this operating system has a TON of free applications available for it!